Kan Li / Scout

Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Nov 12

A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...

As we look ahead to these last three regular season games, a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game and at least one postseason game, I’m reminded of something Dean Smith said after a University of North Carolina basketball game more than 40 years ago. It was the 1974-75 season and Carolina struggled early to find a rhythm, but once the Tar Heels figured things out, they stunned the college basketball world by winning the ACC Tournament. One of the early signs that things were turning around was Carolina’s win over a loaded Clemson team that featured 7-1 Tree Rollins and the explosive Skipper Wise, maybe the best scoring guard most of you never heard of.

Dean was happy of the win, but he warned that his team had to understand this was just one win, that there was much more to be accomplished and bigger goals that could be reached.

“This was a big win for us and we’ve got to handle it the right way,” Dean said afterward. “We’ve gone through a lot of adversity that taught us how to work together to get better but winning often gives us a false sense of prosperity and blinds us to the fact we’ve still got a long way to go. We can handle adversity. I’m concerned with how we handle prosperity.”

We can apply that same philosophy to Florida’s 2015 football team. We’ve seen the Gators handle one adversity after another this year, everything from losing starting QB Will Grier to an NCAA suspension to having to gut out a win against Vanderbilt when everything seemed to be going the wrong way.

The Vanderbilt win clinched the SEC East and assured the trip to Atlanta. At 8-1 with the first championship any player on this team has experienced as a collegian, these guys should be feeling good about themselves. Although many in the media might think the Gators are a fluke, this is a team that has earned its success by living in the moment and not taking anything for granted. But now they have a measure of prosperity they have to deal with. If they get caught up in the prosperity then these next three weeks will be an adventure. If it’s business as usual and the Gators understand there will be time to celebrate their success later, then these next three weeks will be like laying a hard cement foundation for a football program whose better years are still ahead.

UF VOLLEYBALL, GYMNASTICS SCORE BIG IN EARLY SIGNING

Gymnastics: Jenny Rowland scored big with her first UF recruiting class, landing a group of freshmen for the 2017 season that might be rated #1 nationally. The class includes three members of the US Senior National Team – Alyssa Bauman (Plano, TX), Rachel Gowey (Urbandale, IA) and Amelia Hundley (Hamilton, OH) along with Maegan Chant (Waterdown, Ontario), who was part of Canada’s silver medal team at the Pan American Games.

Volleyball: Mary Wise might have landed her best freshman class ever. It’s certainly the tallest. The Gators signed six who will replace five departing seniors from the 2015 team. The class includes two Under Armour first team All-Americans in Morgyn Greer (6-3 OH, Dripping Springs, TX) and Cheyenne Huskey (6-2 S, Columbus, TX). The rest of the class is made up of Allie Gregory (5-6 DS/L, Louisville, KY), Darrielle King (6-3 MB, Desoto, TX), Rachel Kramer (6-8 MB, Phoenix, AZ) and Mia Sokolowski (6-3 OH, Tucson, AZ).

PAUL FINEBAUM ON THE CFB RANKINGS

On his Wednesday show, Finebaum admitted he’s more perplexed by the week two ratings than he was week one – “I’m actually more upset this week  … Oklahoma State, to me, should have been in the top four.  They have one of the most impressive wins of this college football season over TCU. TCU started the season at #2. I realize they’ve come backwards a little bit, I don’t you put Oklahoma State 8th, Baylor at 6. I realize they’re going to move up with a win over Oklahoma and where in the world does this committee come up with Iowa at five? The logic of that has completely lost me.”

SEC NEWSWORTHY

#3 ALABAMA (8-1, 5-1 SEC): It’s rather funny that many of the same people who criticized Alabama’s inclusion in the first top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings have no problems that Alabama is #2 in the second poll.

ARKANSAS (5-4, 3-2 SEC): Lost in the hype of the heroics of tight end Hunter Henry (lateraled the ball) and Alex Collins (took the lateral to turn a 4th-and-25 into a first down) is the contribution of 6-10, 330-pound right tackle Dan Skipper. Skipper was alert to the situation and used his size and reach to make a basketball-like play by tipping the ball away from Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes.

AUBURN (5-4, 2-4 SEC): Sean White practiced at quarterback Tuesday for the first time in more than a week. With White sidelined with a bad knee last week, Jeremy Johnson led Auburn past Texas A&M, completing 13-17 passes for 132 yards and a TD.

#11 FLORIDA (8-1, 6-1 SEC): Jonathan Bullard is listed as “highly questionable” for Saturday’s game at South Carolina. He might not play a lot of snaps, but this kid is a warrior and no one should bet against him playing. Safety Keanu Neale and left tackle David Sharpe should be good to go.

GEORGIA (6-3, 4-3 SEC): Wide receiver/kick returner Reggie Davis, who left the Kentucky game last week with what was thought to be a concussion, has been cleared to play Saturday against Auburn. Davis is Georgia’s 4th leading receiver and the primary kick returner.

KENTUCKY (4-5, 2-5 SEC): The Wildcats have emphasized the pass rush in preparation for Vanderbilt this week. Last week against Georgia, Kentucky’s front four registered neither a sack nor a quarterback hurry.

#9 LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC): Attorney Bob Barton is representing LSU in an investigation to determine if any NCAA rules were broken by a website launched one week before Leonard Fournette’s first game as a college football player. The website was shut down one day after it was launched.

#20 MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-2, 3-2 SEC): Dan Mullen is selling Mississippi State’s role as underdog for Saturday’s Starkvegas encounter with #3 Alabama. On the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday, Mullen noted, “They [Alabama] have more 4- and 5-star guys setting on the bench that can’t get a rep on their team than we have on our roster.”

MISSOURI (4-5, 1-5 SEC): In a blog about the threatened boycott by Missouri football players, Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com wrote that the locker room is divided because freshman Drew Lock continues at quarterback for the nation’s most inept offense and Marvin Zanders hasn’t been given a shot at the position. 

OLE MISS (7-3, 4-2 SEC): Sophomore offensive tackle Christian Morris, who suffered a spinal cord contusion against Texas A&M, will remain on medical scholarship and serve as a student-assistant while he earns his degree.  Morris plans to make coaching his lifetime profession.

SOUTH CAROLINA (3-6, 1-6 SEC): Against Florida Saturday, the Gamecocks are going with the same uniform combination they wore when they beat Vanderbilt at home, 19-10, on October 17: black jerseys, pants and cleats with white helmets.

TENNESSEE (5-4, 3-3 SEC): Defensive end Kyle Phillips, injured in the win over South Carolina, will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Butch Jones said that linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt is a “long shot” to return this season. Maggitt could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility if he can’t play this season. He missed part of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season with injuries.

TEXAS A&M (6-3, 3-3 SEC): Kevin Sumlin denied reports that he has fired offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “I’m not going to talk about where that came from,” Sumlin said. “There’s nothing factual about that report.”

VANDERBILT (3-6, 1-4 SEC): Derek Mason plans to go with a 2-quarterback rotation Saturday when Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky. Third-year sophomore Johnny McCrary will share snaps with true freshman Kyle Shurmur.

THE DAY AFTER AT MISSOURI

My first thoughts – and I think a lot of people thought similarly – was that the Missouri football players were acting out of conscience to stand up for someone who had legitimate gripes about racism on the campus. I don’t doubt there is racism on the campus and in the Columbia community, but I’m not so sure the protest was based on factual events.   

For example, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jonathan Butler, who was hunger striking while protesting “white privilege” is the son of a Union-Pacific Railroad executive whose compensation in 2014 was $8.4 million. He has since admitted that he was hunger striking because of increased health care costs for graduate school students at Mizzou.

The gay black man (Payton Head) who is the president of the Missouri student body, who accused men in a red pickup truck of hurling racial slurs at him OFF CAMPUS took to social media during the escalated protests and claimed the KKK was sighted and confirmed to be on campus. Head went so far as to say he was working with the university police, state police and National Guard to deal with the KKK. There was no KKK on campus. Head later took to social media and claimed it was all a lie that he perpetrated while “In a state of alarm.” No evidence of the men in the truck has been uncovered either.

There is no evidence of a poop swastika on dorm on the Missouri campus. The photo that was used as alleged evidence, it turns out, has been making the rounds on social media for more than a year.

I would suggest reading a column by FoxSports.com’s Clay Travis – a white southerner who has worked on Democrat political campaigns and admits he voted for Obama twice.
http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/is-the-entire-mizzou-protest-based-on-lies-111115

The Travis column is not some right wing hack job, but instead the work of a good reporter who dug deeply to unearth facts that should change our perceptions of what happened at the University of Missouri. There is every good possibility that we were all duped and what escalated this incident was a hoax or series of hoaxes.   

It is troubling that the Missouri football team might have been pawns in a game that ended the career of the school president. I don’t know if Tim Wolfe was a good president or not. Maybe he’s someone who should have never held the job in the first place, but the circumstances of this protest say he got railroaded.

Because of the money that’s involved in collegiate athletics – especially football – athletes wield tremendous power. If they wish to go on strike, they can create problems that cost millions of dollars and long term damage on communities, campuses and to athletic departments. Used properly, athletes can use their power to take a stand that brings about good and necessary change. In a perfect world, athletes would always use their power judiciously and change things for the better.

The world isn’t perfect and I’m afraid a can of worms we don’t want to deal with has been opened.   

COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY UPDATES

Alabama O-line and former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal is quietly emerging as the front-runner at Miami, per Football Scoop.

Minnesota removed the interim title from Tracy Claeys. He is the head coach now and has a 3-year, $4.5 million deal to prove it.

There is growing sentiment that Chip Kelly has about had it with the NFL and will soon return to college coaching. He fanned those flames on The Rich Eisen Show when, talking about quarterbacks, he said, “That’s the one great thing about college, the head coach gets to make the final decisions, and he gets the guy that fits the system, has the character, knows he can go in there and handle all the pressure of the position.”

Amid reports that Purdue has committed to bringing back Darrell Hazell (6-27 career at PU), Hazell was asked if he’s confident he will be back next season. Hazell’s response: “I don’t know if I have any comments to that right now.”

Odds are 50-50 at best that Rich Rodriguez won’t be at Arizona next year. He’s considered the front runner at Virginia Tech but his name is also surfacing at Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland.

Sporting News lists 10 candidates for the South Carolina job: Rich Rodriguez, HBC Arizona; Tom Herman, HBC Houston; Kirby Smart, DC Alabama; Justin Fuente, HBC Memphis; Shawn Elliott, Interim HBC South Carolina; Charlie Strong, HBC Texas; Mark Dantonio, HBC Michigan State; Rich Bisaccia, STC Dallas Cowboys; Jeff Brohm, HBC Western Kentucky; Scott Satterfield, HBC Appalachian State.

ODDS OF MAKING IT TO THE NFL BASED ON 2014 NUMBERS

I read this on an Instagram post.

High school football players: 1,086,627
High school football seniors: 310,465
NCAA football players: 70,147
NCAA freshman football players: 20,042
% of high school players playing NCAA football: 6.5%
Seniors playing NCAA football: 15,588
Players scouted by the NFL: 6,500
Invited to the Combine: 350

Players drafted by the NFL: 256
Rookies making an NFL team: 300
% of NCAA players to the NFL: 1.6%
Number of NFL players making it to year 4: 150

2014 NFL minimum salary: $420,000
Estimated income after taxes: $252,000

This is why I shake my head at kids who reluctantly go to class and college football coaches who enable them. This is also why I laugh when I hear the “experts” and “analysts” talk about high school kids who “will play on Sunday in the future.” Yeah, right.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I shake my head every time I hear an announcer say “the defensive secondary” or the “offensive center.” What? You mean there is such a thing as an offensive secondary? And you mean there is a defensive center?

The mascot at Arizona State could cost the university several hundred thousand dollars. During a halftime ceremony back on September 18, Sparky the mascot, jumped on the back of Tempe councilman David Schapira, who was being honored along with other city officials. Schapira was recovering from spinal fusion at the time and walking with a cane. Schapira spent a few days in the hospital and is undergoing therapy. It could be another six months injury is healed.

Rest easy Florida fans. No Beth Mowins for Saturday’s Florida-South Carolina broadcast. Mike Patrick has the play-by-play with Ed Cunningham as the analyst and Dr. Jerry Punch on the sidelines.

Speaking of Beth Mowins, I would rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Who would you rate as the three best play-by-play announcers for college football? The three worst?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

There was this party at my apartment in Richmond back in 1977. When it was over I had about 7-8 albums that weren’t part of my own personal collection. Over the next few days, all but one of the albums was claimed by the rightful owner. The one that wasn’t was “Calling Card” by someone named Rory Gallagher, whose albums sold more than 30 million copies during his career. An Irish rocker/bluesman, Gallagher died at age 47 of complications from a liver transplant in 1995.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqoxdGZlUWg


Fightin Gators Top Stories

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SEC NEWSWORTHY

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#3 ALABAMA (8-1, 5-1 SEC): It’s rather funny that many of the same people who criticized Alabama’s inclusion in the first top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings have no problems that Alabama is #2 in the second poll.

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ARKANSAS (5-4, 3-2 SEC): Lost in the hype of the heroics of tight end Hunter Henry (lateraled the ball) and Alex Collins (took the lateral to turn a 4th-and-25 into a first down) is the contribution of 6-10, 330-pound right tackle Dan Skipper. Skipper was alert to the situation and used his size and reach to make a basketball-like play by tipping the ball away from Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes.

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AUBURN (5-4, 2-4 SEC): Sean White practiced at quarterback Tuesday for the first time in more than a week. With White sidelined with a bad knee last week, Jeremy Johnson led Auburn past Texas A&M, completing 13-17 passes for 132 yards and a TD.

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#11 FLORIDA (8-1, 6-1 SEC): Jonathan Bullard is listed as “highly questionable” for Saturday’s game at South Carolina. He might not play a lot of snaps, but this kid is a warrior and no one should bet against him playing. Safety Keanu Neale and left tackle David Sharpe should be good to go.

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GEORGIA (6-3, 4-3 SEC): Wide receiver/kick returner Reggie Davis, who left the Kentucky game last week with what was thought to be a concussion, has been cleared to play Saturday against Auburn. Davis is Georgia’s 4th leading receiver and the primary kick returner.

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KENTUCKY (4-5, 2-5 SEC): The Wildcats have emphasized the pass rush in preparation for Vanderbilt this week. Last week against Georgia, Kentucky’s front four registered neither a sack nor a quarterback hurry.

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#9 LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC): Attorney Bob Barton is representing LSU in an investigation to determine if any NCAA rules were broken by a website launched one week before Leonard Fournette’s first game as a college football player. The website was shut down one day after it was launched.

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#20 MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-2, 3-2 SEC): Dan Mullen is selling Mississippi State’s role as underdog for Saturday’s Starkvegas encounter with #3 Alabama. On the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday, Mullen noted, “They [Alabama] have more 4- and 5-star guys setting on the bench that can’t get a rep on their team than we have on our roster.”

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MISSOURI (4-5, 1-5 SEC): In a blog about the threatened boycott by Missouri football players, Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com wrote that the locker room is divided because freshman Drew Lock continues at quarterback for the nation’s most inept offense and Marvin Zanders hasn’t been given a shot at the position. 

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OLE MISS (7-3, 4-2 SEC): Sophomore offensive tackle Christian Morris, who suffered a spinal cord contusion against Texas A&M, will remain on medical scholarship and serve as a student-assistant while he earns his degree.  Morris plans to make coaching his lifetime profession.

\n

SOUTH CAROLINA (3-6, 1-6 SEC): Against Florida Saturday, the Gamecocks are going with the same uniform combination they wore when they beat Vanderbilt at home, 19-10, on October 17: black jerseys, pants and cleats with white helmets.

\n

TENNESSEE (5-4, 3-3 SEC): Defensive end Kyle Phillips, injured in the win over South Carolina, will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Butch Jones said that linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt is a “long shot” to return this season. Maggitt could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility if he can’t play this season. He missed part of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season with injuries.

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TEXAS A&M (6-3, 3-3 SEC): Kevin Sumlin denied reports that he has fired offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “I’m not going to talk about where that came from,” Sumlin said. “There’s nothing factual about that report.”

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VANDERBILT (3-6, 1-4 SEC): Derek Mason plans to go with a 2-quarterback rotation Saturday when Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky. Third-year sophomore Johnny McCrary will share snaps with true freshman Kyle Shurmur.

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THE DAY AFTER AT MISSOURI

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My first thoughts – and I think a lot of people thought similarly – was that the Missouri football players were acting out of conscience to stand up for someone who had legitimate gripes about racism on the campus. I don’t doubt there is racism on the campus and in the Columbia community, but I’m not so sure the protest was based on factual events.   

\n

For example, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jonathan Butler, who was hunger striking while protesting “white privilege” is the son of a Union-Pacific Railroad executive whose compensation in 2014 was $8.4 million. He has since admitted that he was hunger striking because of increased health care costs for graduate school students at Mizzou.

\n

The gay black man (Payton Head) who is the president of the Missouri student body, who accused men in a red pickup truck of hurling racial slurs at him OFF CAMPUS took to social media during the escalated protests and claimed the KKK was sighted and confirmed to be on campus. Head went so far as to say he was working with the university police, state police and National Guard to deal with the KKK. There was no KKK on campus. Head later took to social media and claimed it was all a lie that he perpetrated while “In a state of alarm.” No evidence of the men in the truck has been uncovered either.

\n

There is no evidence of a poop swastika on dorm on the Missouri campus. The photo that was used as alleged evidence, it turns out, has been making the rounds on social media for more than a year.

\n

I would suggest reading a column by FoxSports.com’s Clay Travis – a white southerner who has worked on Democrat political campaigns and admits he voted for Obama twice.
http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/is-the-entire-mizzou-protest-based-on-lies-111115

\n

The Travis column is not some right wing hack job, but instead the work of a good reporter who dug deeply to unearth facts that should change our perceptions of what happened at the University of Missouri. There is every good possibility that we were all duped and what escalated this incident was a hoax or series of hoaxes.   

\n

It is troubling that the Missouri football team might have been pawns in a game that ended the career of the school president. I don’t know if Tim Wolfe was a good president or not. Maybe he’s someone who should have never held the job in the first place, but the circumstances of this protest say he got railroaded.

\n

Because of the money that’s involved in collegiate athletics – especially football – athletes wield tremendous power. If they wish to go on strike, they can create problems that cost millions of dollars and long term damage on communities, campuses and to athletic departments. Used properly, athletes can use their power to take a stand that brings about good and necessary change. In a perfect world, athletes would always use their power judiciously and change things for the better.

\n

The world isn’t perfect and I’m afraid a can of worms we don’t want to deal with has been opened.   

\n

COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY UPDATES

\n

Alabama O-line and former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal is quietly emerging as the front-runner at Miami, per Football Scoop.

\n

Minnesota removed the interim title from Tracy Claeys. He is the head coach now and has a 3-year, $4.5 million deal to prove it.

\n

There is growing sentiment that Chip Kelly has about had it with the NFL and will soon return to college coaching. He fanned those flames on The Rich Eisen Show when, talking about quarterbacks, he said, “That’s the one great thing about college, the head coach gets to make the final decisions, and he gets the guy that fits the system, has the character, knows he can go in there and handle all the pressure of the position.”

\n

Amid reports that Purdue has committed to bringing back Darrell Hazell (6-27 career at PU), Hazell was asked if he’s confident he will be back next season. Hazell’s response: “I don’t know if I have any comments to that right now.”

\n

Odds are 50-50 at best that Rich Rodriguez won’t be at Arizona next year. He’s considered the front runner at Virginia Tech but his name is also surfacing at Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland.

\n

Sporting News lists 10 candidates for the South Carolina job: Rich Rodriguez, HBC Arizona; Tom Herman, HBC Houston; Kirby Smart, DC Alabama; Justin Fuente, HBC Memphis; Shawn Elliott, Interim HBC South Carolina; Charlie Strong, HBC Texas; Mark Dantonio, HBC Michigan State; Rich Bisaccia, STC Dallas Cowboys; Jeff Brohm, HBC Western Kentucky; Scott Satterfield, HBC Appalachian State.

\n

ODDS OF MAKING IT TO THE NFL BASED ON 2014 NUMBERS

\n

I read this on an Instagram post.

\n

High school football players: 1,086,627
High school football seniors: 310,465
NCAA football players: 70,147
NCAA freshman football players: 20,042
% of high school players playing NCAA football: 6.5%
Seniors playing NCAA football: 15,588
Players scouted by the NFL: 6,500
Invited to the Combine: 350

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Players drafted by the NFL: 256
Rookies making an NFL team: 300
% of NCAA players to the NFL: 1.6%
Number of NFL players making it to year 4: 150

\n

2014 NFL minimum salary: $420,000
Estimated income after taxes: $252,000

\n

This is why I shake my head at kids who reluctantly go to class and college football coaches who enable them. This is also why I laugh when I hear the “experts” and “analysts” talk about high school kids who “will play on Sunday in the future.” Yeah, right.

\n

RANDOM THOUGHTS

\n

I shake my head every time I hear an announcer say “the defensive secondary” or the “offensive center.” What? You mean there is such a thing as an offensive secondary? And you mean there is a defensive center?

\n

The mascot at Arizona State could cost the university several hundred thousand dollars. During a halftime ceremony back on September 18, Sparky the mascot, jumped on the back of Tempe councilman David Schapira, who was being honored along with other city officials. Schapira was recovering from spinal fusion at the time and walking with a cane. Schapira spent a few days in the hospital and is undergoing therapy. It could be another six months injury is healed.

\n

Rest easy Florida fans. No Beth Mowins for Saturday’s Florida-South Carolina broadcast. Mike Patrick has the play-by-play with Ed Cunningham as the analyst and Dr. Jerry Punch on the sidelines.

\n

Speaking of Beth Mowins, I would rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.

\n

QUESTION OF THE DAY

\n

Who would you rate as the three best play-by-play announcers for college football? The three worst?

\n

MUSIC FOR TODAY

\n

There was this party at my apartment in Richmond back in 1977. When it was over I had about 7-8 albums that weren’t part of my own personal collection. Over the next few days, all but one of the albums was claimed by the rightful owner. The one that wasn’t was “Calling Card” by someone named Rory Gallagher, whose albums sold more than 30 million copies during his career. An Irish rocker/bluesman, Gallagher died at age 47 of complications from a liver transplant in 1995.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqoxdGZlUWg

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As we look ahead to these last three regular season games, a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game and at least one postseason game, I’m reminded of something Dean Smith said after a University of North Carolina basketball game more than 40 years ago. It was the 1974-75 season and Carolina struggled early to find a rhythm, but once the Tar Heels figured things out, they stunned the college basketball world by winning the ACC Tournament. One of the early signs that things were turning around was Carolina’s win over a loaded Clemson team that featured 7-1 Tree Rollins and the explosive Skipper Wise, maybe the best scoring guard most of you never heard of.

Dean was happy of the win, but he warned that his team had to understand this was just one win, that there was much more to be accomplished and bigger goals that could be reached.

“This was a big win for us and we’ve got to handle it the right way,” Dean said afterward. “We’ve gone through a lot of adversity that taught us how to work together to get better but winning often gives us a false sense of prosperity and blinds us to the fact we’ve still got a long way to go. We can handle adversity. I’m concerned with how we handle prosperity.”

We can apply that same philosophy to Florida’s 2015 football team. We’ve seen the Gators handle one adversity after another this year, everything from losing starting QB Will Grier to an NCAA suspension to having to gut out a win against Vanderbilt when everything seemed to be going the wrong way.

The Vanderbilt win clinched the SEC East and assured the trip to Atlanta. At 8-1 with the first championship any player on this team has experienced as a collegian, these guys should be feeling good about themselves. Although many in the media might think the Gators are a fluke, this is a team that has earned its success by living in the moment and not taking anything for granted. But now they have a measure of prosperity they have to deal with. If they get caught up in the prosperity then these next three weeks will be an adventure. If it’s business as usual and the Gators understand there will be time to celebrate their success later, then these next three weeks will be like laying a hard cement foundation for a football program whose better years are still ahead.

UF VOLLEYBALL, GYMNASTICS SCORE BIG IN EARLY SIGNING

Gymnastics: Jenny Rowland scored big with her first UF recruiting class, landing a group of freshmen for the 2017 season that might be rated #1 nationally. The class includes three members of the US Senior National Team – Alyssa Bauman (Plano, TX), Rachel Gowey (Urbandale, IA) and Amelia Hundley (Hamilton, OH) along with Maegan Chant (Waterdown, Ontario), who was part of Canada’s silver medal team at the Pan American Games.

Volleyball: Mary Wise might have landed her best freshman class ever. It’s certainly the tallest. The Gators signed six who will replace five departing seniors from the 2015 team. The class includes two Under Armour first team All-Americans in Morgyn Greer (6-3 OH, Dripping Springs, TX) and Cheyenne Huskey (6-2 S, Columbus, TX). The rest of the class is made up of Allie Gregory (5-6 DS/L, Louisville, KY), Darrielle King (6-3 MB, Desoto, TX), Rachel Kramer (6-8 MB, Phoenix, AZ) and Mia Sokolowski (6-3 OH, Tucson, AZ).

PAUL FINEBAUM ON THE CFB RANKINGS

On his Wednesday show, Finebaum admitted he’s more perplexed by the week two ratings than he was week one – “I’m actually more upset this week … Oklahoma State, to me, should have been in the top four. They have one of the most impressive wins of this college football season over TCU. TCU started the season at #2. I realize they’ve come backwards a little bit, I don’t you put Oklahoma State 8th, Baylor at 6. I realize they’re going to move up with a win over Oklahoma and where in the world does this committee come up with Iowa at five? The logic of that has completely lost me.”

Team A = @NDFootball Team B = @StanfordFball Team C = @GatorsFB pic.twitter.com/Hpf54hgQEm

— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) November 11, 2015

SEC NEWSWORTHY

#3 ALABAMA (8-1, 5-1 SEC): It’s rather funny that many of the same people who criticized Alabama’s inclusion in the first top four of the College Football Playoff Rankings have no problems that Alabama is #2 in the second poll.

ARKANSAS (5-4, 3-2 SEC): Lost in the hype of the heroics of tight end Hunter Henry (lateraled the ball) and Alex Collins (took the lateral to turn a 4th-and-25 into a first down) is the contribution of 6-10, 330-pound right tackle Dan Skipper. Skipper was alert to the situation and used his size and reach to make a basketball-like play by tipping the ball away from Ole Miss defensive end Marquis Haynes.

AUBURN (5-4, 2-4 SEC): Sean White practiced at quarterback Tuesday for the first time in more than a week. With White sidelined with a bad knee last week, Jeremy Johnson led Auburn past Texas A&M, completing 13-17 passes for 132 yards and a TD.

#11 FLORIDA (8-1, 6-1 SEC): Jonathan Bullard is listed as “highly questionable” for Saturday’s game at South Carolina. He might not play a lot of snaps, but this kid is a warrior and no one should bet against him playing. Safety Keanu Neale and left tackle David Sharpe should be good to go.

GEORGIA (6-3, 4-3 SEC): Wide receiver/kick returner Reggie Davis, who left the Kentucky game last week with what was thought to be a concussion, has been cleared to play Saturday against Auburn. Davis is Georgia’s 4th leading receiver and the primary kick returner.

KENTUCKY (4-5, 2-5 SEC): The Wildcats have emphasized the pass rush in preparation for Vanderbilt this week. Last week against Georgia, Kentucky’s front four registered neither a sack nor a quarterback hurry.

#9 LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC): Attorney Bob Barton is representing LSU in an investigation to determine if any NCAA rules were broken by a website launched one week before Leonard Fournette’s first game as a college football player. The website was shut down one day after it was launched.

#20 MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-2, 3-2 SEC): Dan Mullen is selling Mississippi State’s role as underdog for Saturday’s Starkvegas encounter with #3 Alabama. On the SEC Coaches Teleconference Wednesday, Mullen noted, “They [Alabama] have more 4- and 5-star guys setting on the bench that can’t get a rep on their team than we have on our roster.”

MISSOURI (4-5, 1-5 SEC): In a blog about the threatened boycott by Missouri football players, Jason Whitlock of FoxSports.com wrote that the locker room is divided because freshman Drew Lock continues at quarterback for the nation’s most inept offense and Marvin Zanders hasn’t been given a shot at the position.

OLE MISS (7-3, 4-2 SEC): Sophomore offensive tackle Christian Morris, who suffered a spinal cord contusion against Texas A&M, will remain on medical scholarship and serve as a student-assistant while he earns his degree. Morris plans to make coaching his lifetime profession.

SOUTH CAROLINA (3-6, 1-6 SEC): Against Florida Saturday, the Gamecocks are going with the same uniform combination they wore when they beat Vanderbilt at home, 19-10, on October 17: black jerseys, pants and cleats with white helmets.

TENNESSEE (5-4, 3-3 SEC): Defensive end Kyle Phillips, injured in the win over South Carolina, will undergo shoulder surgery and miss the remainder of the season. Butch Jones said that linebacker/defensive end Curt Maggitt is a “long shot” to return this season. Maggitt could petition the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility if he can’t play this season. He missed part of the 2012 season and the entire 2013 season with injuries.

TEXAS A&M (6-3, 3-3 SEC): Kevin Sumlin denied reports that he has fired offensive coordinator Jake Spavital. “I’m not going to talk about where that came from,” Sumlin said. “There’s nothing factual about that report.”

VANDERBILT (3-6, 1-4 SEC): Derek Mason plans to go with a 2-quarterback rotation Saturday when Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky. Third-year sophomore Johnny McCrary will share snaps with true freshman Kyle Shurmur.

THE DAY AFTER AT MISSOURI

My first thoughts – and I think a lot of people thought similarly – was that the Missouri football players were acting out of conscience to stand up for someone who had legitimate gripes about racism on the campus. I don’t doubt there is racism on the campus and in the Columbia community, but I’m not so sure the protest was based on factual events.

For example, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Jonathan Butler, who was hunger striking while protesting “white privilege” is the son of a Union-Pacific Railroad executive whose compensation in 2014 was $8.4 million. He has since admitted that he was hunger striking because of increased health care costs for graduate school students at Mizzou.

The gay black man (Payton Head) who is the president of the Missouri student body, who accused men in a red pickup truck of hurling racial slurs at him OFF CAMPUS took to social media during the escalated protests and claimed the KKK was sighted and confirmed to be on campus. Head went so far as to say he was working with the university police, state police and National Guard to deal with the KKK. There was no KKK on campus. Head later took to social media and claimed it was all a lie that he perpetrated while “In a state of alarm.” No evidence of the men in the truck has been uncovered either.

There is no evidence of a poop swastika on dorm on the Missouri campus. The photo that was used as alleged evidence, it turns out, has been making the rounds on social media for more than a year.

I would suggest reading a column by FoxSports.com’s Clay Travis – a white southerner who has worked on Democrat political campaigns and admits he voted for Obama twice.
http://www.foxsports.com/college-football/outkick-the-coverage/is-the-entire-mizzou-protest-based-on-lies-111115

The Travis column is not some right wing hack job, but instead the work of a good reporter who dug deeply to unearth facts that should change our perceptions of what happened at the University of Missouri. There is every good possibility that we were all duped and what escalated this incident was a hoax or series of hoaxes.

It is troubling that the Missouri football team might have been pawns in a game that ended the career of the school president. I don’t know if Tim Wolfe was a good president or not. Maybe he’s someone who should have never held the job in the first place, but the circumstances of this protest say he got railroaded.

Because of the money that’s involved in collegiate athletics – especially football – athletes wield tremendous power. If they wish to go on strike, they can create problems that cost millions of dollars and long term damage on communities, campuses and to athletic departments. Used properly, athletes can use their power to take a stand that brings about good and necessary change. In a perfect world, athletes would always use their power judiciously and change things for the better.

The world isn’t perfect and I’m afraid a can of worms we don’t want to deal with has been opened.

COUNTDOWN TO FIRING DAY UPDATES

Alabama O-line and former FIU head coach Mario Cristobal is quietly emerging as the front-runner at Miami, per Football Scoop.

Minnesota removed the interim title from Tracy Claeys. He is the head coach now and has a 3-year, $4.5 million deal to prove it.

There is growing sentiment that Chip Kelly has about had it with the NFL and will soon return to college coaching. He fanned those flames on The Rich Eisen Show when, talking about quarterbacks, he said, “That’s the one great thing about college, the head coach gets to make the final decisions, and he gets the guy that fits the system, has the character, knows he can go in there and handle all the pressure of the position.”

Amid reports that Purdue has committed to bringing back Darrell Hazell (6-27 career at PU), Hazell was asked if he’s confident he will be back next season. Hazell’s response: “I don’t know if I have any comments to that right now.”

Odds are 50-50 at best that Rich Rodriguez won’t be at Arizona next year. He’s considered the front runner at Virginia Tech but his name is also surfacing at Virginia, Kentucky and Maryland.

Sporting News lists 10 candidates for the South Carolina job: Rich Rodriguez, HBC Arizona; Tom Herman, HBC Houston; Kirby Smart, DC Alabama; Justin Fuente, HBC Memphis; Shawn Elliott, Interim HBC South Carolina; Charlie Strong, HBC Texas; Mark Dantonio, HBC Michigan State; Rich Bisaccia, STC Dallas Cowboys; Jeff Brohm, HBC Western Kentucky; Scott Satterfield, HBC Appalachian State.

ODDS OF MAKING IT TO THE NFL BASED ON 2014 NUMBERS

I read this on an Instagram post.

High school football players: 1,086,627
High school football seniors: 310,465
NCAA football players: 70,147
NCAA freshman football players: 20,042
% of high school players playing NCAA football: 6.5%
Seniors playing NCAA football: 15,588
Players scouted by the NFL: 6,500
Invited to the Combine: 350

Players drafted by the NFL: 256
Rookies making an NFL team: 300
% of NCAA players to the NFL: 1.6%
Number of NFL players making it to year 4: 150

2014 NFL minimum salary: $420,000
Estimated income after taxes: $252,000

This is why I shake my head at kids who reluctantly go to class and college football coaches who enable them. This is also why I laugh when I hear the “experts” and “analysts” talk about high school kids who “will play on Sunday in the future.” Yeah, right.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

I shake my head every time I hear an announcer say “the defensive secondary” or the “offensive center.” What? You mean there is such a thing as an offensive secondary? And you mean there is a defensive center?

The mascot at Arizona State could cost the university several hundred thousand dollars. During a halftime ceremony back on September 18, Sparky the mascot, jumped on the back of Tempe councilman David Schapira, who was being honored along with other city officials. Schapira was recovering from spinal fusion at the time and walking with a cane. Schapira spent a few days in the hospital and is undergoing therapy. It could be another six months injury is healed.

Rest easy Florida fans. No Beth Mowins for Saturday’s Florida-South Carolina broadcast. Mike Patrick has the play-by-play with Ed Cunningham as the analyst and Dr. Jerry Punch on the sidelines.

Speaking of Beth Mowins, I would rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard.

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Who would you rate as the three best play-by-play announcers for college football? The three worst?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

There was this party at my apartment in Richmond back in 1977. When it was over I had about 7-8 albums that weren’t part of my own personal collection. Over the next few days, all but one of the albums was claimed by the rightful owner. The one that wasn’t was “Calling Card” by someone named Rory Gallagher, whose albums sold more than 30 million copies during his career. An Irish rocker/bluesman, Gallagher died at age 47 of complications from a liver transplant in 1995.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqoxdGZlUWg

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